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Graduate Student Pipeline Program

Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016)

Many schools and colleges have long-term relationships with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the country. In an effort to increase graduate student applications from MSIs, the Rackham Graduate School will convene a working group to establish a coordinated strategy for supporting MSI initiatives in individual schools and colleges. In pursuit of this goal, the group will develop an approach for cultivating new alliances and enhancing existing partnerships with MSIs and will create a process for funding MSI initiatives within individual units.

Progress update

With the Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) Summit cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, we launched a coffee chat series for scholars and practitioners to share ideas, best practices and other resources. The discussions focused on Carnegie Very High Research Activity University (R1) and Minority Serving Institution (MSI) relationships and mechanisms of support for students transitioning from MSIs into R1 for graduate and professional education. The series featured examples from U-M and highlighted exemplars from across the country as well as scholars and practitioners who explore and implement practices that foster positive experiences and outcomes for students from MSIs. 

As of June 23, 2021, the Pipeline Program hosted six coffee chats, three of which spotlighted U-M units (Political Science, Taubman College of Architecture of Urban Planning and Humanities) along with several of their MSI collaborators. Three other chats featured scholars and practitioners nationwide who engage in MSI relationships. In total, there were 122 coffee chat registrations, primarily from U-M with some representation from participants in other states.

During Year Five, Rackham continued to host quarterly MSI community meetings with MSI grantees to foster community and share best practices and outcomes. To date, all grant recipients have made significant progress, and two of them [School of Public Health and Climate and Space Engineering (CLASP)] have signed memoranda of understanding with their partnering MSIs. Other recipients are using the grants to create research opportunities for the summer and throughout the academic year as well as faculty exchanges and mentoring services for MSI students.

In terms of student-facing activities, Rackham hosted its first graduate school fair focused specifically on recruiting undergraduate students from MSIs. More than 50 U-M academic units participated in the event, which attracted approximately 240 visitors. 

In Year Five, Rackham continued its collaboration with and support of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) recruitment efforts, led primarily by the School of Pharmacy and focused on biomedical and health sciences. Since then, Rackham has expanded its outreach beyond the AUC to other MSI institutions. 

Rackham also hosted a virtual visit with the McNair Program of California State Long Beach and was subsequently invited to participate in an upcoming event with the Cheatham White Scholars of North Carolina Central. 

In addition, Rackham also hosted a healing circle for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), creating a space for students from HBCUs to share their experiences with a supportive community. In the future, this event will be conducted more frequently and extended to students from other MSI categories, including Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and Native American-Serving, Non-Tribal Institutions (NASNTIs).

Responsibility: Rackham Graduate School